Lymington RNLI rescue cold crew from stranded dinghy

Lifeboats News Release

Lymington RNLI volunteers were called at 3.10pm on Saturday 22 September to go to the aid of a cruising Wayfarer dinghy that had grounded on the marsh.

Following some confusion with the location, the craft having been reported as 200m to the East of the Lymington River, and with the aid of the Solent Coastguard mobile team, the lifeboat crew aboard Relief Fleet Atlantic 85, (B-880) Martin Frederick Whitehouse, found the dinghy trapped in the maze of marsh side gullies that form the outer edge of the Keyhaven River some 2 miles to the west.

Nudging up to the marsh edge, the Lymington lifeboat crew put one of their crewmembers ashore and having ascertained the well-being of those onboard the 16ft dinghy took off a cold young crew member, returning her at speed to Lymington to the warmth of the boathouse, before returning to the incident.

From here with the dinghy having been dragged off the mud in the lifeboat’s absence, the lifeboat then recovered their crew member and took the two remaining adults aboard intending to taken them and the dinghy back to Lymington. However; with one of the adults now complaining of the cold, the lifeboat returned to Lymington again at speed leaving the dinghy anchored.

On the third passage to the incident, a further dinghy from the same fleet was spotted low in the water but despite offers from the lifeboat crew to escort it to safety in the deteriorating conditions, assistance was turned down leaving the lifeboat free to recover the original dinghy to the Lymington Harbour Masters pontoon where it remained overnight prior to collection on Sunday.

The dinghies had been participants in a rally that had set off earlier in the day to sail from Calshot at the entrance to Southampton Water to Freshwater Bay on the South side of the Isle of Wight but which had run into difficulties in Hurst Narrows as the tide turned and the wind momentarily dropped before swinging to the East South East and increasing bringing the forecast rain and poor visibility.

Lymington lifeboat returned to station shortly after 4.30pm to be readied for further service.

Lifeboat crew observation: Anyone can be caught out by a change in the weather but the wisdom of setting off for an open dinghy cruise of that distance and duration in the western Solent and exposed waters of Hurst Narrows and the Needles Channel with the forecast weather deterioration has to be questioned as the participants we rescued appeared ill prepared for the tidal conditions and weather they were likely to encounter.

Notice to Editors:

· For over 53 years, Lymington RNLI Lifeboat has provided search, rescue and lifesaving capability in the western Solent, Needles Channel and eastern sector of Christchurch Bay.

· Lymington RNLI’s own Atlantic 85 lifeboat (B-882) David Bradley is temporarily off station for investigation into an electronic systems anomaly.

RNLI Media Contacts:

  • Peter Mills, Lymington RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer 07767 213583
  • Paul Dunt, Regional Media Officer (South East) on 0207 6207426, 07785 296252

· For enquiries outside normal business hours, contact the RNLI duty press officer on 01202 336789 email:

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The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and, in a normal year, more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.

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